Grand Challenges Updates
Get the latest updates about UNM's Grand Challenges.
COMM 1130, PUBLIC SPEAKING COURSE Fall 2020
February 3, 2021
Spring 2021 Grand Challenges Graduate Course
November 20, 2020
Check out this great Economics Course that includes Sustainable Water Resources connections…
November 17, 2020
A fully online, 16-week course for introductory microeconomics - the branch of economics that examines individual, household and firm-level decision-making under scarcity. Because this is an introductory course, we will examine many different yet interesting topics. We begin by analyzing why trade is good and introducing the demand and supply framework. We then use this framework to understand economic efficiency and how government regulations can change market outcomes. Then, we move on to explain how firms make decisions to maximize profit and look at how this changes under different market structures including perfect competition and monopoly. We end the course by applying what we have learned by looking at some special topics in microeconomics, time permitting - international trade and trade policy, externalities and corrective measures, and water resources management. Taught by Jingjing Wang. Professor Wang teaches this course with a Sustainable Water Resources/ UNM Grand Challenge focus as an AAGE Teaching Fellow. She also implements a set of research-based interventions in the class to build equitable learning environments as a Student Experience Project (SEP) Faculty Fellow.
New Environmental-Focused Learning Academy
August 25, 2020
Join us for the Fall 2020 Grand Challenges Welcome Back Event
September 1, 2020
Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Time: 11:00 am to Noon
Zoom Link: https://unm.zoom.us/j/97749744502
Substance Use Disorders Grand Challenge is sponsoring a graduate research training opportunity
August 12, 2020
UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH OPPORTUNITY CONFERENCE (UROC) 2020
June 18, 2020
• Abigail Axness, Use of Continuous Water Quality Sensors to Examine Headwater Response to Snowmelt: Valles Caldera and Jemez Mountains.
• Ilona Nathania Alisudjana, Assessing Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Treatments among Native and Non-Native Communities.
• Spencer McBee, Recreational Cannabis: Potential Factors of Expansion and Potential Effects.
COMM 1130, PUBLIC SPEAKING COURSE 2020
June 18, 2020
Congratulating Dr. Kamilla Venner
May 20, 2020
The Substance Use Disorders Grand Challenge team recently released its third request for pilot research proposals.
May 15, 2020
The UNM Successful Aging Grand Challenge Team announces a Call for Proposals.
May 14, 2020
UNM professor uses computational simulations to advance substance use disorder treatment
May 13, 2020
UNM Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology Yi He is leading a research project that investigates a potentially groundbreaking way to treat drug addiction. The study uses computational modeling to understand the role of the PICK1 protein in the brain of an individual suffering from drug addiction.
For a psychoactive drug to take effect in the brain, signals need to pass from one neuron to another across a gap, or synapse, between cells. To do this, one cell releases chemicals into the synapse, and the other cell detects the chemicals using receptors on the cell’s membrane. Previous studies have shown that a protein called PICK1 is responsible for embedding and removing certain receptors from the cell membrane.
These specialized chemical receptors seem to play an important role in drug addiction. He explains that an individual suffering from drug addiction has fewer receptors, on average, than a person who has not used drugs. This reduced number of receptors makes it very painful for such individuals to stop using drugs, encouraging the cycle of addiction. “The ideal scenario is that we want to restore the regular number of receptors, so that [the patient] will receive the same amount of stimulation as before they took drugs – basically, restore them to who they were before they started to take drugs,” says He.
It is believed that the PICK1 protein may hold the key to giving those suffering from drug addiction a clean slate biologically. There is a lot left to be learned about how the protein works, however, before a PICK1 treatment can be developed. He explains, “We know that PICK1’s responsibility is to transport and regulate the number of receptors on the cell surface, but how does the cell tell PICK1 to transport the receptors from inside the cell to the surface or to retrieve it back? How [does] PICK1, which is just a protein that can’t think, perform this biological function?”
To answer these questions about the mechanisms of PICK1, He and his team are using a high-performance computing cluster hosted by the Center for Advanced Research Computing to perform computational modeling. “To study the interactions with PICK1 with these receptors and to trace the whole process at an atomic resolution [using a wet lab procedure] is extremely difficult, if not impossible. That’s why we’re depending on finding a solution from a computational point of view,” He reports.
He’s study is being funded by UNM’s Substance Use Disorders Grand Challenge Award. The program funds nine projects, involving many different UNM research groups, all aimed at better understanding substance use.
This ambitious project is expected to involve five to ten years of intensive research. “Developing a drug for this protein is not a trivial process,” He comments. While the study will be laborious, its results have the potential to help millions of Americans struggling with drug addiction.
COVID-19 Rapid Response Request
April 13, 2020
Grand Challenges Coffee and Conversation
February 19, 2020
Tonigan and Pearson Awarded $2.3M Research Grant
January 16, 2020
Water Team Selects New Pilot Projects
October 27, 2021
Grand Challenges Team Selects New Pilot Projects
December 3, 2019
Effects of the 5-HT2A receptor antagonist M100907 on behavioral and neural alterations induced by chronic methamphetamine administration. Lead Investigator: Nathan Pentkowski, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology.
Ready to Change? A Microlongitudinal Study of Polysubstance Use. Lead Investigators: Frank Joseph Schwebel, Postdoctoral Fellow, CASAA; and Mateo Pearson, Assistant Professor, CASAA.
Trajectories and mental health predictors of perinatal alcohol and polysubstance use. Lead Investigators: Pilar Sanjuan, Assistant Professor, CASAA; Lawrence Leeman, Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine; and Eric Kruger, Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy.
Congratulations to all of these great investigators!
Healthy Brain Day: Get Educated on Alzheimer’s
November 22, 2019
2020 Academic Affairs General Education Teaching Fellows
October 27, 2021
2020 Academic Affairs General Education Teaching Fellows, Grand Challenges: Leslie Donovan, Professor, Honors; Fred Gibbs, Associate Professor, History; Kuangchiu Joseph Ho, Principal Lecturer III, Director of Chemical Education; Yoo Kyung Sung, Associate Professor, Language Literacy Sociocultural Studies; Jingjing Wang, Assistant Professor, Economics; Benjamin P. Warner, Assistant Professor, Geography and Environmental Studies; Alexa Wheeler, Senior Lecturer III in Fine Arts, Program Coordinator of Film & Digital Arts. Film & Digital Arts, UNM – Valencia Campus
Request for Proposals
November 20, 2019
Valencia Campus Visit
November 13, 2019
The Vice President for Research recently visited the Valencia Campus to explore ways to better partner with branch campus faculty in Grand Challenge research and education initiatives. Grand Challenges leaders visited with Valencia campus leaders, as well as the UNM Valencia Instructional Council. The Council provided many outstanding recommendations for leveraging the Grand Challenges to enrich undergraduate education at the branch and central campuses. Conversations also focused on possible undergraduate research collaborations. In addition, Valencia faculty showcased three great undergraduate student researchers who are working on water-related projects, one of whom is now continuing his education at UNM Central Campus. These researchers and their projects are recognized on the Grand Challenges Student Research website (https://grandchallenges.unm.edu/education/student-research.html).
Successful Aging Pilot Research Projects
November 13, 2019
The Successful Aging team recently sponsored four pilot research projects. The sixteen Principal Investigators and Co-Investigators for these proposals came from eleven different UNM departments/units and community organizations. On October 30, 2019, Successful Aging leaders met together with the pilot project leaders to help facilitate cross-pollination among the pilot teams, and to help share resources. Project titles and personnel can be found at: https://grandchallenges.unm.edu/three-grand-challenges/successful-aging/index.html.
Substance Use Disorders Team Selects New Pilot Projects
November 13, 2019
For the first time at UNM students in recovery or seeking recovery from substance abuse and other addictions have an official meeting space to help them in their journey. The UNM Collegiate Recovery Center (CRC), located in the basement of Logan Hall, is modeled after similar programs at other Universities. The center is open each day from noon – 3 p.m. Programming includes four meetings a week: Mindfulness for Recovery (Monday at 3 p.m.), Recovery Talk (Thursday at 12:30 p.m.), AA Meeting (Friday at 1 p.m.), Veterans in Recovery (Friday at 3 p.m.). “This is a very important population on campus that is underserved,” Department of Psychology Program Specialist, Marni Goldberg said. Goldberg notes that it’s important students understand this is not a treatment center and does not include counseling sessions. Although, she can issue referrals. “We’re here to support students who are in recovery from substance abuse, gambling, sex, food and whoever is on a recovery journey,” she said. Goldberg is running the program along with eight volunteer students. In 2019, CRC was was awarded a $3,000 UNM Grand Challenges pilot grant to initiate programming and to complete a campus-wide needs assessment, partnering with COSAP.
Sustainable Water Resources Collaboration Workshop
November 13, 2019
The Sustainable Water Resources team conducted a workshop on November 12, 2019 to foster research interdisciplinary collaboration in anticipation of applying for upcoming research grants, including the following programs: NSF Research Traineeship, NSF Sustainable Urban Systems Research Centers, NSF Biology Integration Institutes, NSF CNH2 Dynamics of Integrated Socio-Environmental Systems. More than 30 faculty researchers from at least 14 academic departments actively participated in these focused discussions.
Community Engagement Research
November 13, 2019
A team of UNM geographers sponsored by the Sustainable Water Resources Grand Challenge, led by Dr. Benjamin Warner, and including Tucker Colvin, Amy Jones, Rachel Sanchez, and Indu Roychowdhury, is documenting the challenges faced by rural New Mexican communities as they work to manage their aging drinking water systems. The team uses surveys and qualitative interviews to engage with rural water managers across the state. Researchers have found that the ability of water managers to address long-term challenges to water sustainability like drought is compromised by a myriad of short-term governance challenges.
New GC Student Research Webpage.
November 13, 2019
Check out the new Grand Challenge webpage devoted to showcasing the challenge-related research conducted by UNM graduate and undergraduate students (https://grandchallenges.unm.edu/education/student-research.html). Among the student research included there are posters presented at Shared Knowledge Conference (hosted by the Office of Graduate Studies). Shared Knowledge Conference is an outstanding multi-disciplinary showcase for graduate student research and included 16 research projects that help address the three Grand Challenges.